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Everything posted by Andrew

  1. For my money, this and Midsommar are the most interesting things on US screens right now. Based on this directing debut, Joe Talbot and Barry Jenkins seem birds of a feather, elegaically crafting visually beautiful and psychologically rich portraits of black American experience. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/07/the-last-black-man-in-san-francisco-is-a-bounty-of-beautiful-melancholic-debuts/
  2. I'm sorry to read this, but I certainly understand the timing issue for you. I'm glad we have Full Frame to catch up in person at least once yearly.
  3. It's a definite sign that I'm ready for this muggy Tennessee summer to end, that I'm checking the TIFF website daily for any news (none yet, naturally). So, who's going? Jessica and I will be there for its entirety.
  4. Sigh...Bradley Whitford's brand of know-it-all smarm is becoming tiresome. I will, however, give the upcoming HBO series about a fraudulent televangelist a shot, solely because it stars John Goodman.
  5. Hey, better late than never. After my initial reservations about Season 2, I fell wholeheartedly for this show. I've watched it 3 times through - the only other series I've done that for is The Wire - and I love it at least as much each time. The depth of character, the scintillating dialogue, the flashes of humor, the ideas wrestled with - it's all done superbly. I forgot to post my review for the TV movie that wrapped up the series last month, so I'll share the link here. Its key is significantly more major than minor, compared to the series, but I found it quite satisfying: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/06/at-last-a-sunny-day-in-deadwood/
  6. I liked the look of the previous lists and the way they had a thumbnail image of a movie still, which linked to the longer write-up. I'd be happy with anything with a similar aesthetic. But I'm hardly a web design expert, so take that for what it's worth.
  7. Andrew

    Never Look Away

    Bumping this thread, since Never Look Away has been available for home viewing for a while now. I just watched it for a second time yesterday, and it remains my favorite film of 2019 thus far. I guess I'm always going to be a sucker for biographies that demonstrate artists plying their craft across tumultuous times (one of many reasons I so admire Kurosawa, and a reason I'm now pursuing my own chronological survey of Shostakovich's compositions). This film does so movingly and with excellence.
  8. Thanks for explaining things, Ken. I'm sorry the pages don't look as aesthetically pleasing any longer, but it makes sense why this is the case.
  9. Whoa! What's happened to the look of the Top 25 and Top 100 lists in the past week? Since I posted my column 6 days ago at Secular Cinephile, complete with links to all of the Top 25 lists and the most recent Top 100, everything has changed, and not for the better. The Top 100 looks dingy, while the Top 25s from previous years have lost their accompanying movie stills. I'm assuming this is (quite) temporary, Ken?
  10. Andrew


    From Ari Aster, the director of last year's Hereditary, which made my Best of 2018 list. I don't foresee this one making my 2019 list; while I can't deny Aster and his cinematographer's craft, I found the violence too distressingly graphic here. What I find interesting in Aster's two-film oeuvre so far is the commonality of horrific family trauma and ritual. In Hereditary, the ritualistic trauma occurs within the family; while in Midsommar, it occurs without, and is an effort by the protagonist to give meaning to a shattered life. Either way, it seems pretty clear that Aster is not a fan of the exclusionary, violent, us vs them dichotomies that are a feature of pretty much every religion. And from the recent NY Times interview with the director, he clearly is using his films to work through his own family trauma. My friend Sid wrote the review of Midsommar for my page, and it's a good 'un: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/07/2814/
  11. I felt pretty meh about it, which bummed me out since Spidey has been my favorite superhero since childhood, and I very much enjoyed Spider-Verse and Homecoming. The writing felt lazy and too much of the comedy forced, too much of the acting unnatural. With better direction and smarter writing, so much more could've been done with the dynamic between Peter and Quentin. Its commentary on living in a post-truth world of alternative facts was quite timely, though. Here's my review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/07/the-newest-spider-man-a-marvel-movie-for-a-post-truth-world/
  12. So I went ahead and wrote a column covering the list: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/06/cinematic-wisdom-for-the-years-the-arts-faith-top-25-films-on-growing-older/
  13. Andrew

    Toy Story 4

    I pretty much hated the third installment - it felt like a relentless cacophany, but even worse, the slavery or overlord/serf analogies were disturbing yet unaddressed. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed #4. I'm glad to see that the next two Pixar films won't be sequels, since 4 of their last 5 have been, and are inferior for it. Hopefully, they'll quit while they're ahead and end the Toy Story franchise here. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/06/toy-story-4-is-hopefully-possibly-a-fine-wrap-to-this-pixar-franchise/
  14. I'm game for writing a chapter on growing old with either Ozu or Kurosawa, drawing from Eriksonian and/or existential points of view. If you have a taker for one, I'll gladly write about the other.
  15. Huzzah! Thank you for all of your hard work on this project, Ken.
  16. Andrew

    The Dead Don't Die

    Despite its lukewarm response at Cannes, I rather liked this. Here's my review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/06/once-again-bill-murray-zombies-fun-in-the-dead-dont-die/
  17. I actually liked the premise of Roth's novel better than its execution. But Simon is such a wise soul and a masterful storyteller - only "Generation Kill" hasn't roped me in, post-"Wire" - that I have high hopes for this project.
  18. Since The Wire is the best thing ever to hit television (no hyperbole), any new Simon/Burns project is cause for huzzahs. However, I can't imagine why he chose now to adapt Philip Roth's alternative history novel about a fascist, white supremacist president. (On Marc Maron's podcast, John Turturro said that Simon's been planning this since Dubya's tenure, but sat on it through the Obama presidency, feeling the timing wasn't right.) Here's HBO's press release: https://www.hbo.com/hbo-news/the-plot-against-america-david-simon
  19. I've considered buying Lavery's book, but for now I've only read the BFI book-length analysis and Milch's own book, a mix of coffee table photos and serious analysis. It's a show that rewards deep consideration.
  20. I stay away from other reviews before I publish my own, so I just learned from the "Fresh Air" review that Deadwood's creator David Milch has Alzheimer's. I'm stunned. (And I'm in awe that he wrote the script for the movie as well as for an episode of True Detective this past season, considering he was first diagnosed in 2015.)
  21. Link to TV series thread: Link to my review of the TV movie that concludes the series: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/06/at-last-a-sunny-day-in-deadwood/ I won't repeat myself, but like the TV show, the film mixes faith and reverence with the profane and doubting. Having studied this TV series second only in intensity to The Wire, this was a bigger TV event to me than the GoT finale, and I was mostly delighted and satisfied. And the film would've made an excellent addition to our Growing Older films list, since it concerns itself with mortality and how we morph (or don't) over time. To cite but two such quotes: - “Make friends with [your] ghosts, they ain’t fucking going anywhere.” - "All bleeding stops eventually."
  22. Andrew


    Very good review. One minor correction: it's "Alcoholics Anonymous"; and I don't think it's necessarily an AA meeting he's attending, but a generic recovery group. I always appreciate your takes on musical films, given your passion and knowledge around this genre. I felt much the same way about the film, including its relative merits next to Bohemian Rhapsody. As someone whose adolescence coincided with the birth of MTV, I loved how the final song, though a obvious choice, was presented.
  23. Just my 2 cents, but I'm thinking more words would detract from the aesthetic of the page layout.
  24. I'm glad you mentioned that, Joshua - I'd never seen it spelled that way prior to our list making. Thanks to your prompting, I checked the academic texts by Richie, Prince, and Yoshimoto, and they all spell it Madadayo. So I'm inclined to agree it's an error on imdb's part. Ken, if you're in agreement, would you be ok with correcting the spelling in my blurb and in the list?
  25. Andrew

    A Quiet Passion

    I suspect the latest Emily Dickinson biopic will engender a similar love/hate response: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2019/05/wild-nights-with-emily-dickinson-comedy-with-earnest-intent/
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